Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, is quite displeased with recent media reports on his companies. Taking to Twitter on May 23rd, he declared that the public no longer trusted media companies due to their "holier-than-thou hypocrisy".
The holier-than-thou hypocrisy of big media companies who lay claim to the truth, but publish only enough to sugarcoat the lie, is why the public no longer respects them https://t.co/Ay2DwCOMkr— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
Following this, Elon responded to several tweets critical to him including one, from Senior transportation reporter at Verge, Andrew Hawkins, accusing him of being like Trump.
Thought you’d say that. Anytime anyone criticizes the media, the media shrieks “You’re just like Trump!” Why do you think he got elected in the first place? Because no ones believes you any more. You lost your credibility a long time ago.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
Perhaps most interestingly is Mr. Musk seems to realize, despite claims to the countrary from media figures, the difficulties journalists are facing economically and even alludes to the conflict between the Media and Tesla. He then reveals his proposed name for the site, Pravda.
Problem is journos are under constant pressure to get max clicks & earn advertising dollars or get fired. Tricky situation, as Tesla doesn’t advertise, but fossil fuel companies & gas/diesel car companies are among world’s biggest advertisers.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda …— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
Needless to say, few in the media were pleased with this decision and quickly attacked a poll Mr. Musk made on the merit of his idea. In addition, there were several swipes made at the media for being unable to convince their readers to vote against him.
Create a media credibility rating site (that also flags propaganda botnets)— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
If you’re in media & don’t want Pravda to exist, write an article telling your readers to vote against it …— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018
Come on media, you can do it! Get more people to vote for you. You are literally the media.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 24, 2018
While this may seem nonsensical or perhaps just a CEO upset about poor press coverage, that isn't the case here. For starters, despite media negativity, Elon Musk has always managed to be successful and operates with the clear understanding that setbacks will occur. Drawing my views from his media appearances, his personality seems very subdued, analytical and not prone to emotional outbursts. In addition, Pravda Corp had paperwork filed back in October 2017 which seems to show this is not a knee-jerk decision but something Elon Musk has been debbating for some time now. It seems very much based in a valid criticism of media coverage criticizing Tesla when the automotive industry as a whole is far worse.
Tesla no doubt has many issues, foremost of these related to vehicle safety, and these are a major part Tesla's mission. Should Tesla be successful at creating self-driving cars for the general public, our roads would be safer and lives would be saved. While Tesla vehicles have had several deaths, so far they've been found to be operator error rather than a fault of the vehicle. It's obvious that there will be lives lost due to design issues, nothing is perfect, however I think this is far better than the 40,000 lives lost in 2017 from vehicle accidents in the US alone.
So what do you think? Is Elon Musk just upset about poor coverage or does the media need better accountability?
This is just a followup video for those curious about the economics of the Modern Media by Tim Pool, a journalist who I've found to be reliablly neutral neutral in the past. He covers the stresses Journalists operate under and the frankly pathetic economic situation these companies operate within. Please note however that in this situation, he is far from neutral as he has been a journalist in many organizations and has a strong investment in the situation.